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Hellfire and Delinquency: Another Look

Steven R. Burkett and Mervin White
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1974), pp. 455-462
DOI: 10.2307/1384608
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1384608
Page Count: 8
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Hellfire and Delinquency: Another Look
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Abstract

Hirschi and Stark (1969) reported very little relationship between religious involvement and adolescent delinquency. They concluded that religion is therefore "irrelevant to delinquency." The present paper offers an alternative interpretation of their findings and tests one of its implications. It is hypothesized that Hirschi and Stark's findings apply only to offenses against persons and property, and that a clear relationship between religion and delinquency should be found for "victimless" crimes. Data from high-school students in the Pacific Northwest replicate Hirschi and Stark's findings but also reveal a moderately strong relationship between religion and the use of marijuana and alcohol. Suggestions are made for further tests of the alternative interpretation.

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